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Get a Social Security Number (SSN)

You are eligible to apply for a Social Security Number if you have a job offer.

What is the SSN?

An SSN is a tax identification number that allows your salary information to be tracked in a payroll system. You do not need an SSN to get a job, but you will need one in order to be paid. The Social Security Number is issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which is the tax authority of the United States. 

Am I eligible to get one?

F-1 students are eligible to apply for a SSN if they have one of the following:

How do I apply?

If you meet the eligibility requirements, you will need to apply in-person at the Social Security Administration. Remember, you do not need an SSN in order to receive a job offer, but you will need one in order to be paid.

Follow these steps before you apply:
  1.  Be in the U.S. for at least 10 days on an "Active" SEVIS record
    • If you are not certain if your SEVIS record is considered "Active," contact International Student Support to confirm this. Your SEVIS record is typically registered as "Active" during the first week of classes, after you have met your full-time registration requirements.
  2. Obtain Proof of Employment Eligibility
    • On-Campus Employment: 
      • You will need an employer letter from your supervisor, which should be on University letterhead, dated, and have an original signature from your supervisor. Please share the Template Employer Letter  with your supervisor and have them customize it to meet the Social Security Administration Requirements. 
      • After you get the employer letter, you need to request an additional letter from International Student Support verifying that you are maintaining your F-1 status. You can do this by simply emailing International Student Support a copy of the employer letter.
    • CPT Off-Campus Employment
      • After you get an updated I-20 from International Student Support with all of your CPT information, you can apply for the SSN. You can apply for the SSN a maximum of 30 days before your CPT begins. You do not need an employer letter. Page 2 of your I-20 will be proof of your authorization to work.
    • OPT Off-Campus Employment
      • After you apply and are approved for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) through OPT, you are eligible to apply for the SSN. The earliest you can apply is the start date of your OPT. You do not need an employer letter. The EAD will be proof of your authorization to work.
  3. Prepare Your Documents 
    Bring these original documents with you to the Social Security Administration:
    • The Completed SSN Application
    • Valid Passport
    • F-1 Visa
    • Current I-94 (available to print online)
    • Valid I-20
    • Proof of Employment Authorization
      • For On-Campus Employment, bring the letter from your supervisor and the letter from International Student Support
      • For CPT, bring your I-20 and show them your CPT approval on Page 2.
      • For OPT, bring your Employment Authorization Card (EAD Card)
  4. Go to the Social Security Administration
    • If you are not in downtown Denver, but need to apply for the SSN, use the Social Security Administration Locator to find your closest SSA.
    • If you are in downtown Denver, go to the address below:
      2nd Floor Suite 200
      1500 Champa St.
      Denver, CO 80202
    • Before visiting the SSA, please confirm their hours of operation. The downtown Denver SSA is open on the following days/times:
      Monday 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
      Tuesday 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
      Wednesday 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
      Thursday 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
      Friday 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
      Saturday Closed
      Sunday Closed
  5. Obtain the Receipt and Wait for the SSN Card
    • After applying for the SSN, the Social Security Administration will give you a "receipt" which will confirm that you have submitted your SSN application. Ask for it before you leave the Social Security Administration if they do not automatically give it to you. There are 3 types of receipts:
      • Accepted - Your SSN will take 10-14 days to be printed.
      • Processing - Your application is under processing and may take 1-3 months to review.
      • Rejected - Your application was not approved.
    • If you receive an Accepted or Processing receipt, you can begin working after you show your receipt to your employer.

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